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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Sri Lanka blocks cricketers visiting Dalai Lama

May 7, 2010

(AFP)  May 5, 2010

COLOMBO - Sri Lanka stopped national cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara
and another player from calling on the Dalai Lama out of fear that a
meeting would anger China, an official said Tuesday.

Sangakkara and former skipper Mahela Jayawardene were advised not to
join their Indian Premier League teammates who paid a courtesy call on
the Tibetan spiritual leader last month, the official said.

"Kumar and Mahela were instructed not to visit the Tibetan leader. It
was a foreign ministry directive that was issued to us, via the sports
ministry," Sri Lanka cricket secretary Nishantha Ranatunga told AFP.

Sangakkara was the skipper of the Kings XI Punjab in the just concluded
IPL tournament. Local media reported that Jayawardene's wife Christina
had, however, joined the team to visit the Tibetan spiritual leader

"We were made to understand that we should not upset relations with
China," Ranatunga said.

Sri Lanka, a key Buddhist nation, supports a "one-China" policy and
regards Beijing as a key political and military ally.

China regularly protests to countries which allow visits by the Dalai
Lama. Beijing sees him as a supporter of independence for Tibet, which
it regards as Chinese territory. The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India
in 1959.

Beijing has also helped block a resolution censuring Sri Lanka for its
handling of the final stages of its war against the Tamil Tiger rebels
last year and is a main supplier of small arms to the South Asian nation.
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